John the Baptist, according to Mincy, is preaching to Jews in the covenant community to repent like one would after he's been saved, but in this case to keep in good covenantal standing in an apostate nation Israel. It's an impossible, completely convoluted take on John's preaching. The repentance of John was for the remission of sins. It was the same repentance that Jesus preached. John and Jesus were not preaching different messages, different gospels, two different meanings of repentance.
John preached repentance in Mark 1 and in Mark 2 Jesus called sinners to repentance, not the righteous. Neither Jesus nor John were calling the righteous to repent. Both John and Jesus preached, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." This is not complicated. Their audiences needed to repent or go to hell. Those who did not go to heaven would end instead in hell. If you keep reading in Matthew 3, John was preparing the way for the Lord. He prepared them to receive the king. They needed to turn to their king, to their Messiah. He had arrived and they needed to repent. John was the herald of Jesus, the kerux of Jesus, so he was delivering the same message as the King. They wouldn't have the king or the kingdom if they didn't turn around. These weren't converted people.
The long expected reign of the Messiah had arrived in Palestine and John was preaching that. John preached that, not because they were ready, but because they were not ready. As you move further in Matthew 3, John's message wasn't one of sanctification, but one of fiery wrath. They were a generation of vipers, who were warned to flee from the wrath to come. If they did not repent, they would be burned up like chaff in a fire. This was a warning of hell.
The same message that John the Baptist preached is what Jonah preached to Nineveh in Jonah 3:9, "Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?" Jesus echoed this when He said, "Repent or perish" (Luke 13:3-5). This was the same message He told His disciples to preach when He gave them the great commission in Luke 24:47, "that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
Those in the Jewish nation could become a part of the kingdom through personal conversion. They weren't going to get into the kingdom just because they were in the nation. Everyone needed to repent personally, and then they could. It's obvious that repentance was salvific, not a repeated act of sanctification. No way.
There are so many problems with Mincy's presentation. He perverts repentance so much that it would take an article three times the length of his to correct it all. Someone should start with what I've written so far. Mincy suggests that repentance started taking a new meaning with the apostles, differing than even what Jesus and John preached, that he calls "justification-repentance" in contrast to the "sanctification-repentance" of the gospels. The justification repentance is essentially the repent of your unbelief that you hear from Hyles-types. A person wasn't trusting in Christ and when he starts trusting, he has repented in his mind of that lack of trust. Whereas he wasn't believing before, now he is, and that's repentance among those who preach what the Hyles-types preach. What Mincy presents is completely, absolutely wrong. There's no way to get what he says from a plain meaning of the text.
Mincy attempts to use Geerhardus Vos to support his view and in so doing completely misrepresents what Vos himself taught about repentance, who wrote (Geerhardus Vos, The Kingdom of God and the Church, P&R, 1972, pp. 92-93):
Our Lord’s idea of repentance is as profound and comprehensive as His conception of righteousness. Of the three words that are used in the Greek Gospels to describe the process, one emphasizes the emotional element of regret, sorrow over the past evil course of life, metamelomai; Matt. 12:29-32; a second expresses reversal of the entire mental attitude, metanoeo, Matt. 12:41, Luke 11:32; 15:7, 10; the third denotes a change in the direction of life, one goal being substituted for another, epistrephomai; Matt. 13:15 (and parallels); Luke 17;4, 22:32. Repentance is not limited to any single faculty of the mind: it engages the entire man, intellect, will and affections… Again, in the new life which follows repentance the absolute supremacy of God is the controlling principle. He who repents turns away from the service of mammon and self to the service of God.
Mincy uses Vos out of context to teach a view he would never have taught.
If the gospel is the core or the boundary, however evangelicals or fundamentalists want to explain it, what happens if they can't agree on the gospel itself? Do mere portions of the gospel became the sole basis of fellowship, unity, or separation? Doctrine already has been diminished to the gospel. At what point does the minimization stop?
John Mincy is Board Emeritus for the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International. I think it is safe to say that there are those on some of the FBFI boards who absolutely disagree with Mincy about this, while others would have really appreciated his article. His article is not just poorly done, but it perverts scripture and the gospel. It is not what the Bible teaches about salvation. What's more important to the FBFI? Is it clarity on the gospel or the politics of fundamentalism?
Our Word of Truth Conference for 2015, which is November 11-15, will be on the gospel. For the next few years we will have sessions in the morning dealing with the gospel from which we will write a book, like we did with A Pure Church from the first three years of the Word of Truth Conference. You will be able to get the audio from the conference and likely the video from the morning sessions. You can listen to past conferences here at the conference website and see past videos here from the conference at youtube.